Flight delay row: Fadnavis threatens defamation cases

Mumbai, July 2: Irked by reports that he was allegedly responsible for delaying an Air India flight to the US, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday hit back with threats to file criminal defamation cases.

"Enough is enough. Once I am back to India I will initiate proceedings of criminal defamation," Fadnavis warned in a tweet during his ongoing business tour of the US.


"The allegation that I forced to delay the flight to New York is false & misleading. I totally deny it," a tweet said after the controversy erupted on the 57-minute delay to the Mumbai-Newark service on Monday.

The flight delay took place when Pravin Pardeshi, principal secretary in the Chief Minister's Office, who was also travelling in the entourage, was stopped from boarding as he was not carrying his passport with a valid US visa.

"If at all any report that has been submitted states that I refused to travel without my delegation, then it is a blatant lie because passengers sitting besides and behind me are witness that I was sitting quietly waiting for departure. Not even once I asked to offload me," Fadnavis tweeted.

However, Air India later clarified that the delay was on account of multiple factors, including air traffic control and other issues.

The Prime Minister's Office on Thursday sought a report from the civil aviation ministry on the issue.

The ministry in turn asked Air India to submit reports on two incidents -- the second one involving union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and others on a Leh-Delhi flight on June 24.

Rijiju on Thursday apologised for the incident in which three passengers were asked to de-board to accommodate him and his aides at Leh, besides a delay in the flight.


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